On April 1, Tim Geithner, speaking from the big G20 love fest, told Katie Couric that he would certainly consider replacing the CEOs of any bailed-out entity that the administration felt wasn’t performing up to snuff. I don’t think there’s anybody out there who doesn’t think that’s a good idea. You take the money. You do the job. If you don’t, so long Charley, right? Right.
This will undoubtedly leave a huge CEO gap in a number of large institutions. In many cases, the government will probably try to fill the void with an executive who has been on the corporate scene before, as they did at General Motors. There’s certainly a rationale for that. The anointed one knows the company in question. He has some experience in the trenches. At the same time, isn’t that individual likely to be as much part of the problem as the solution? The Who said it: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” Is that what we’re really after?
I submit that there are many qualified individuals from outside each of these banks, car companies, insurance behemoths and other corporate states that are now at least partially owned by We, the People. I believe I am one of them.
Following are my qualifications to be a New Bailout CEO:
- I have many nice suits and would not need government help to acquire any before ascending to my new post;
- I have lost some hair over the years and now am required, on bad days, to do a moderate comb-over;
- I don’t really understand a lot about the economy, relying on others for their wisdom, and would therefore not put up any resistance to virtually any plan that Mr. Geithner, Mr. Ratner or Mr. Ed, for that matter, might have in mind;
- I can read a Teleprompter very well, and will not go off-point, ever, no matter what;
- I can still button my jacket when I sit down, which is more than I can say about a lot of these guys;
- I believe that Business can come back and am willing to say so;
- I have Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, which is clearly a qualification for haute executive status;
- I am a big fan of Mr. Obama and all his guys;
- I don’t mind taking a Town Car to appointments and have been doing so for many years, and would by no means insist on a stretch limo like some of these other bozos;
- I fly commercial all the time and would promise to continue to do so;
- I’m good at a cocktail party;
- I like to delegate the important stuff.
Of course, the compensation would have to make sense. I know the limits, which have been well-publicized. But what’s the upside?